Review: PDW CaB II

This bag is a beast, but the good kind that you want to have around. It’s motto? Grab, stuff and go!

I must admit, when this bag arrived it sat around for a while. It felt heavy and perhaps a tad over build. It wasn’t until I first took it out in the field that I realised the extent of what it had to offer.

The CaB-II takes it’s title of “Carry All Tote Bag” seriously, by having an expansive capacity that, so far, has swallowed up everything I’ve asked it to and still had a bit more room. Hiking boots, waterproofs, picnics, beach stuff, Christmas gifts, cold weather gear and even food shopping – time and time again this bag has proven itself to my family as big enough to handle the task.

The handles offer two main options for carrying. The long handles to sling it over a shoulder and the shorter, safety orange, ones to grab and go. Of course whichever straps you’re not using can be used to hold things in, to lash items to the bag or just folded inside.

I’ve only consciously thought about the handles to write up my thoughts here. The reality is they just work. Not too short. Not too long. I’ve just grabbed the ones that make the most sense at the time. Perfect.

The pockets are good, well built, but I’ve only occasionally used the pockets with the dividers. I can see their uses, but would personally prefer the all open pockets and have used the open ones much more. That said they’ve been used for a spork or two when carrying food, so maybe I’m being too hard on them. For us, the strength of these pockets is the ability to cram in that little bit extra.

As I mentioned before it is heavy. I initially thought 1000D Cordura was an unnecessary weight of fabric to use. But this extra thick material has meant that I’ve never questioned dropping it down on rocks, sand, mud, pavements, rain, or anything really. It is a joy to use, especially as I’m someone who dislikes anything that feels like it should be “baby-ed”.

I’ve only once carried this as an extra capacity option in another pack. If you’re using it, it’s far more likely to be the one bag you need for the outing or part of a squad of bags going out.

It’s not for the Ultra-Light hikers trail, but it is for camping, weekend trips, family outings, holidays, or anywhere where weight isn’t your primary consideration.

It has a good natural folding pattern, which is essential for a last-minute style bag like this. It folds down to a neat little square, which is really satisfying. It still isn’t particularly slim folded up, but when you know how to use it, folded is not it’s usual state.

I love the OD Green of mine, but with some hindsight, I think some of the other colours might have been higher on my list. Wolf Grey is more my jam… Maybe I should get another, I could definitely use more of these.

There’s a well sized area of square loop for a morale patch. This is great if you have a fleet of them and want to differentiate. For us having a patch area means our son can chose a patch for each trip. I realise embroidered fabric is not everyones cup of tea, but the loop matches the material well so it doesn’t stand out when you don’t have a patch there.

This bag excels at the grab and go situation. It is solidly built, in the USA, and that solid nature means it can handle some serious stuffing. It is vastly accommodating for a wide variety of tasks and has been built to get the job done and as Mrs Pack Config says, “Of all your bags, this is the most useful one. To me!” I definitely recommend picking one (or a few) up!

By Nat Wagstaff

Editor-In-Chief, more posts.

The product(s) being tested and reviewed here were exchanged for the service of producing this review.

Editor: For the reason I've intentionally not stated this product as having been received for free please read my Review Process comments on our About page. All of our contributors write without the pressure to review favourably, regardless of how they've been obtained. Most often we like to write about products or brands we already love but I always make every effort to make sure our reviews are honest.